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Transportation
9:55 am
Fri February 21, 2014

House Committee Considers Bill That Would Allow Driver's Licenses To Last Eight Years

The House Transportation Committee is considering a bill that would allow Kansans to renew their driver's licenses for eight years, rather than six years.

House Transportation Committee members were supportive of the idea yesterday, saying it was partly in response to long lines at driver's license offices.

The bill also would allow drivers over age 70 to renew their licenses every five years, rather than four years currently required by state law.

Environment
9:51 am
Fri February 21, 2014

EPA Proposes New Pesticide Safety Rules

The EPA has been taking input from stakeholders for ten years. The changes include additional worker training on the safe use of pesticides, including what to do in case of exposure.

Signs would have to posted warning workers not to re-enter a field where pesticides have recently been applied.

There are also provisions to protect workers from pesticide drift—chemicals blowing from one field to another.

Children younger than 16 would be banned from handling any pesticides. However, there is an exemption for family farms.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Tanya Tandoc: Fantasy Gardening and Cooperation

Credit Campobello Island / Flickr / Creative Commons

I am not a gardener. Plants wither and die at my very glance. I don’t even like it when I accidentally touch leaves, because they can itch or harbor bugs or any number of dreadful things. I envy those who can nurture a plant from shoot to fruit, but I am not one of them. I’m happy just to be able to use the produce and flowers that talented gardeners and farmers offer.

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Music
5:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Vehicles: Finding Happiness With 'Bluebird'

Vehicles will be celebrating the release of "This Bluebird Wants Me Dead" on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Lucky’s Everyday.
Credit Courtesy photo

Musicians Kerry Bainum and Cody Cloud have played in bands together for more than 15 years. When it looked like their current band, Vehicles, was on the verge of collapse a few years ago, the two friends decided that instead of letting the band come to an abrupt end, as they’d done in the past, they’d keep it together. After all, Cloud says, a new band always faces serious challenges when it tries to get off the ground.

“It’s a matter of momentum," he says. "Who wants to lose momentum? The heart and soul of the band is still here—me and the drummer, so why not keep going?”

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Arts
5:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Friends University Hosts Jazz Fest With Master Classes

Friends University Jazz Director Lisa Hittle and Jazz Vocal Ensemble Director Craig Curry in Hittle's office.
Credit Carla Eckels

Area high school, middle school, and junior college jazz bands and jazz vocal ensembles will sharpen their skills this weekend under the direction of musical masters at Friends University.  The 21st Annual Jazz Festival is a two-day event on the Friends University campus in Wichita. An invitational vocal concert will cap off Friday's events and the festival will culminate with the Headliner Concert Saturday night. (The festival's daytime events are no-cost and welcome observers.)

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Kansas House
5:51 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Health Care Compact Bill Advances In House

A House committee has advanced a bill aimed at exempting Kansas from the federal health care overhaul.

State Representative Brett Hildabrand, a Shawnee Republican, said that if the bill ends up passing, it could move Kansas towards gaining more control over federal health care programs.

“The broad federal approach tries to apply a cookie-cutter approach to every state. I believe that’s too broad and we need to put it back at the state level,” Hildabrand said.

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Education
10:04 am
Thu February 20, 2014

House Committee Hears Testimony Over Bill That Would Ban Common Core Standards

The Kansas House Education Committee heard testimony on a bill that would bar using Common Core academic standards for reading and math in public schools.

Supporters and opponents of Common Core filled the meeting room yesterday.

Witnesses had 90 seconds each to address the committee, which asked no questions and took no action on the bill.

The bill would reverse the state Board of Education's adoption of the standards in 2010. It would also create an advisory group to develop new guidelines for math and reading.

Commentary
5:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Fun Parts Of 'About Last Night' Don't Make A Satisfying Whole

Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant in 'About Last Night'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

About Last Night has one big problem: the story develops in ways that the general tone and the character developments don't support.

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Music
5:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Enter The Dragon: Split Lip Rayfield Ends Hiatus

After 15 months, Split Lip Rayfield ended their hiatus with a performance on New Year's Eve at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS.
Credit Ryan Hendrix

After nearly 10 years of non-stop touring, the members of Kansas-based band Split Lip Rayfield decided to take a break—an unbelievably long one by the trio’s standards. The hiatus spanned nearly 15 months, starting in October 2012 and ending on New Year’s Eve in Lawrence. The band’s Wayne Gottstine says it was something the members all felt they needed.

“We played a ton of shows in the last couple of years so we needed a little time off to rest up the old man, I guess," Gottstine says. "I think it’s probably one of the longer breaks in the 16 years that Split Lip’s been around.”

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Entertainment
5:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

The Wichita Grand Opera Takes On William Tell

Lucus Meachem as William Tell and Alyssa Toepfer as Tell's son, Jemmy.
Credit Hugo Phan

He shot an arrow through the apple which was on his son’s head. It was a test of an archer’s loyalty. But the creation of the opera, William Tell, is a test of talent for the singers. KMUW’s Aileen LeBlanc reports.

It is a rare experience – not once in a lifetime – but once in a great while, that we get the opportunity to see a production of William Tell. It has an epic scale of staging, almost operatic; but it is the difficulty and complexity of the music which really puts it beyond the reach of many companies. Not for the Wichita Grand Opera. The WGO takes on William Tell!

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